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Why I Prioritize Read Alouds in My Classroom... (And Why You Should Too)!

Every year I always get a Facebook memory for this eCard:


At the time I originally posted this, my teammate and I were frequently having conversations about our fear that rigor would replace read alouds in the classroom. We both had our Master's degrees in Literacy and we were (and still are) deeply passionate about reading.


Fast forward about 8 years- I can honestly say that I do sometimes fear that rigor does prevent read alouds in the classroom- there is just SO MUCH to get done EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. However, I do think that The Science of Reading is really building the case for why we should still integrate read alouds into our daily practice.


There are so many benefits to integrating this special time into your classroom each and every day. Here are my top 5 reasons why I prioritize reading aloud to students in my own classroom.


Building Community- When we are engaged in a whole class read aloud together, we are also engaged in a shared experience. As a class community, we are listening, learning, and problem solving our story as it unfolds and there is something magical about the experience. A strong classroom community is essential to creating positive learning outcomes for students, and read alouds offer an easy and simple way to help create that community.


Build Vocabulary- Reading aloud books to children increased their exposure to and knowledge of vocabulary, syntax and background knowledge- ALL of these are essential parts of learning to read according to The Science of Reading and Scarborough's reading rope. We can model language, build background knowledge, and share new words together as we share a story.


Modeling Fluent Reading- Reading aloud to kids helps model fluent reading. Students can hear that fluent reading is not speed reading, instead it is reading within the punctuation, reading with expression, and bringing the characters to life. There is so much more to fluent reading than just "getting through the words smoothly" and reading aloud to students is one way to help model this reading behavior.


Build A Love of Reading- This use to be my number one reason that I would advocate so hard for my read aloud time... reading to students helps them develop a love for books! This still holds true and is still important- classroom read alouds help students fall in love with books and stories. The true craft of picking a read aloud is picking something that will hook your students and open new doors to new genres, characters, or series that they might not have other wise sought out on their own. There is also something powerful when students see an adult they trust engaging with a book with a passion and love!


Reading Aloud Can Be a Positive and Stress Free Experience- This is now the number one reason I advocate to keep my read alouds in my classroom. In a time when the school day is rigorous, reading aloud can offer a time for classes to pause and recharge. The positive impact for my students' mental health means they NEED read alouds. They need a moment to pause and just listen. They need a moment to connect to a character they identify with or to see a character face similar problems and adversities they might be facing. Reading aloud to our student is an investment not only in their literacy skills, but also in their social and emotional health. THAT is why we need read aloud in the classroom.


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